Tag Archives: England

Pocahontas: First American Celebrity

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English: Artist depiction of Pocahontas saving...

English: Artist depiction of Pocahontas saving the life of Capt. John Smith. MEDIUM: 1 print : chromolithograph, color. B size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1995, Disney’s Pocahontas was released. Across the country, a new generation of girls fell in love with the Native American Princess. Not only was she able to communicate with animals, but she was brave and made her own decisions by following her heart. Ever since Pocahontas journeyed to England in 1616, the world has been fascinated by her. Though her life has been fantasized, beginning with John Smith, Pocahontas is an important part of America’s history. Pocahontas helped Jamestown survive at a time when several settlements were killed by natives or diseases.

Pocahontas was born around 1595 to Chief Powhatan and one of his wives. Her birth name was Matoaka, though it was common to the tribe to have several names. Though she had numerous siblings, she was her father’s favorite. In December 1607, Englishman John Smith was taken captive and taken to the Werowocomoco Village. By his account, he was first welcomed by the chief and offered a feast, but then he was forced to stretch out on two large stones while the natives stood over him with clubs, ready to kill him. Suddenly, a young girl rushed to him, protecting him from the clubs. She helped Smith stand up and then Powhatan adopted him as his son. Though the execution may have been a tradition of welcoming a stranger into the tribe, Pocahontas was known for saving Smith’s life forever.

In the early 1600’s, England was trying to create settlements in America but it was having trouble due to disease, Indian attacks, and weather. Smith and Pocahontas’ relationship ensured Jamestown would survive because Pocahontas brought food and supplies to the Englishmen once a week. In October 1609, Smith was injured by a gunpowder explosion and was forced to return to England. When Pocahontas came to visit Jamestown, she was told he was dead. The next year she married Kocoum, but she was kidnapped by Captain Samuel Argall in exchange for English prisoners and items the Indians had stolen. Pocahontas was sent to a different settlement called Henrico where she was educated; she also met tobacco planter John Rolfe. After a year of captivity, Dale brought 150 armed men and Pocahontas into Powhatan territory to obtain the ransom. After a fight between the two groups, Pocahontas was sent ashore where she was reunited with her family. The fight between the two ended and would last until 1622. Pocahontas also told her father that she wished to marry Rolfe, who gave her his consent.

Pocahontas was baptized as a Christian, given the name Rebecca, and on April 5, 1614, she married Rolfe. The two had a baby and lived happily on Rolfe’s farm until 1616 when the family traveled to England. The Virginia Company was hoping to attract settlers to Virginia by convincing the Englishmen that the Indians could convert to Christianity. In England, Pocahontas became a celebrity, even meeting King James I. She also reunited with Smith, who was actually alive. After several months, Rolfe decided to return to Virginia in 1617. Sadly, Pocahontas became ill on the boat and was taken ashore in Gravesend, England. While dying, she told her husband that “all must die.” She died on March 21, 1617. Her husband and father returned to Virginia.

England knew about the New World, since the early 1500’s, but was having trouble creating a permanent profitable settlement due to the strange environment, disease, and frequent attacks from the Native Americans. Due to the friendship of Pocahontas and John Smith, the English were able establish its first permanent settlement in America. The marriage between Pocahontas and John Rolfe is the first interracial marriage in America. Pocahontas’ descendants, through her son Thomas, include politicians, generals, scientists, and first ladies. Though Pocahontas’ life is a mystery, John Smith paints her as a smart, brave woman who followed her heart.

Sources:

Pocahontas

Pocahontas. biography

Pocahontas

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Church of England Rejects Appointing Female Bishop: Female American’s Reaction

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Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Cen...

Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower. Seen from south. Image assembled from 4 photos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church of England has been letting women serve as priests since 1994 but on November 20, 2012, it voted against letting women serve as bishops. Though most of the Church supported women serving as bishops, the voting procedure requires a two-thirds majority in each of its three houses (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops). The measure easily passed the House of Bishops (44 to 3) and the House of Clergy (148 to 45), but it failed by only six votes in the House of Laity (132 to 74) (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops). The Church of England needs to become more modernized and accept that women are equal to men or else it will not last.

Women are an  important part to the Church of England since female priests account for 1/3 of clergy members (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops) and in 2010, for the first time in the history of the Church of England, more women than men (290 women and 273 men) were ordained as priests (New Women Priests than Men). Since the number of women in the Church is only going to increase over the next few years, women will continue to push for equal rights in the Church. If the Church allowed women as bishops, it could move on to more pressing issues, like war and world hunger, but instead it has to deal with ancient sexist rules. Women priests are not the only ones who want equals rights, even men within the Church wish to see female bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury (symbolic leader of the Church of England) Rowan Williams agrees that the Church needs to become modernize in order to survive, “We have, to put it bluntly, a lot of explaining to do. Every day that we fail to resolve this to our satisfaction. . . is a day when our credibility in the public eye is likely to diminish” (Church Rejects Appointing Female Bishops). Already the Church’s population has decreased; in 2010, the Archbishops’ Council showed that less than 2% of Britons attended regular service (Church votes against Women Bishops). Meanwhile, a July 2012 poll showed that 74% of Britons favored the Church of England allowing women bishops, showing that the Church of England is going against the wishes of the English (Church votes against Women Bishops). This vote will not make more English believers but further diminish its popularity. Though the Church of England refuses women bishops, there are female Anglican bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States (Vote Rejecting Women Bishops). The Anglican churches did not experience the wrath of God when they allowed female bishops, showing that it is possible for the Church to change its ways and make female bishops.

One reason that Traditionalists voted against women becoming bishops is because female bishops would hold superiority over men (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops).  As St. Paul wrote, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet. For Adam was formed first and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (New King James Version, Timothy 2:12-14). The Traditionalists wish to follow scripture that was written by men nearly 2,000 years ago, scripture that has been translated over the centuries. Another reason is because Jesus only had male disciples – even though some consider Mary Magdalene to be a disciple since she also stayed with Jesus at the cross when all the other disciples left and she was the first one to see him when he was resurrected – but surely Jesus did not consider her important.

According to the Church rules, the vote may not be brought back before the synod during the current term, ending in 2015. “There will be women bishops in my lifetime,” Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu promises (Church still won’t allow Female Bishops). The issue is no longer with just the Church since the Church has 26 places reserved for it in the  House of Lords Chamber and the Synod’s decision means these places are exclusively set aside for men. In England, a petition wishing to have bishops thrown out of the House of Lords after the Church of England voted to retain the ban on women being ordained was created – it reads “We call on the Government to remove the right of the Church of England to have automatic seats in the House of Lords, in line with its commitments to equality and non-discrimination, set out in the Equality Act (2010) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)” (Women Bishops House of Lords Ban). Labour Member of Parliament Chris Bryant said parliament should consider repealing the exemption from equality legislation for churches in order to force them to consecrate female bishops and Tory Member of Parliament Claire Perry said the Synod’s vote was “incomprehensible” given the Queen was the supreme governor of the Church of England (Women Bishops House of Lords Ban). There is even talk that several members of parliament are going to investigate the voting process and see if Parliament can force the Church to allow female bishops – a move that could threaten to separate church from state.

Until this vote, I had no idea that the Church of England did not allow female bishops since the number of religions allowing women to be priests, pastors, bishops, etc. in the United States has been increasing.  Traditionalists need to stop following scripture in the Bible that puts men above women since women have shown to be capable of doing anything men can, including leading a congregations. The bible’s ancient text is based on ideas and culture 2,000 years ago; if the Church does not adapt to modern views, it will not last in modern times. Parliament should get involved with forcing the Church to change its views since the Church is not separate from the government and should also follow the Equality Act set by the government. If the church chooses to live in the past, the government should separate the Church from the government, allowing the Church to focus on fixing its identity problem or watching its popularity drop even further.